why are footprints smaller than the area of the tent floor?

4:24 p.m. on July 19, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

the person at compmor told me that footprints are usually smaller the the tent floor area. Why?

4:54 p.m. on July 19, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Quote:

the person at compmor told me that footprints are usually smaller the the tent floor area. Why?


I had this very same question, and didn't really think to much about it untill I camped out in the rain for the first time with a homemade footprint that was too big for my tent. The first thing that happens with a footprint thats too large is that you can't properly stake out your tent. But this is unimportant compaired to the main reason they are smaller.

As I soon learned on that very fatefull (and wet night). If the footprint for your tent is too big the rain will roll off your tent and right onto the top of your footprint. And from there it will collect under your tent. So after a little while of this your tent will be swimming in its very own, very cold, very wet little pond. I had the joy of learning this neat little lesson at about 3am.(its not as pleasant as it sounds, really)

Of course this is all fine and good if you *like* waterbeds and the floor of your tent doesn't leak. My tent floor however did leak, and unheated waterbeds aren't as warm as you might think.

So you want to have your footprint a few inches smaller than your tent floor so that water won't roll off the tent and collect on the footprint.

(no I didn't sleep much that night, and yes the hike out was fun. I like squishing while I walk, really.)

Anyone know of any reasons I forgot?

10:11 a.m. on July 20, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Thanks for your insightful comments! I really appreciate it!

Quote:

Quote:

the person at compmor told me that footprints are usually smaller the the tent floor area. Why?


I had this very same question, and didn't really think to much about it untill I camped out in the rain for the first time with a homemade footprint that was too big for my tent. The first thing that happens with a footprint thats too large is that you can't properly stake out your tent. But this is unimportant compaired to the main reason they are smaller.

As I soon learned on that very fatefull (and wet night). If the footprint for your tent is too big the rain will roll off your tent and right onto the top of your footprint. And from there it will collect under your tent. So after a little while of this your tent will be swimming in its very own, very cold, very wet little pond. I had the joy of learning this neat little lesson at about 3am.(its not as pleasant as it sounds, really)

Of course this is all fine and good if you *like* waterbeds and the floor of your tent doesn't leak. My tent floor however did leak, and unheated waterbeds aren't as warm as you might think.

So you want to have your footprint a few inches smaller than your tent floor so that water won't roll off the tent and collect on the footprint.

(no I didn't sleep much that night, and yes the hike out was fun. I like squishing while I walk, really.)

Anyone know of any reasons I forgot?

7:46 p.m. on July 22, 2002 (EDT)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts
footprints = wet tent

Quote:

As I soon learned on that very fatefull (and wet night). If the footprint for your tent is too big the rain will roll off your tent and right onto the top of your footprint. And from there it will collect under your tent. So after a little while of this your tent will be swimming in its very own, very cold, very wet little pond

Thank you. (;->) For years I have been telling the dwellers of this group that if you put a tent "Plastic" under your tent - you may get wet when you would otherwise have stayed dry. The original tent cloth was made of cloth and the rain soaked through it. Punch 50 holes in your ground plastic so it becomes more porous. Or get smart = put a vapor barrier inside your tent and under your pads to stay dryer. I NEVER use a ground cloth or a ground plastic or a non-prous footprint.
Jim S YMMV (:->)
P.S. a friend spread out a large sheet of plastic and set his tent up on it saying "This will keep me dry" - he was the one who got wettest and made us pack up and leave in the storm. Where did all that water go???? into his sleeping bag of course...

6:48 p.m. on July 27, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: footprints = wet tent

Can't say that I agree. Using no groundcloth means the outside bottom is going to collect dirt and mud which shortens the life of your tent, absorbs water, and promotes mildew (which detroys your waterproof coating). Plus a plastic groundcloth helps protect your tent bottom from punctures from those tiny sharp twigs and rocks that magically appear after you have staked out your tent - which helps keep your tent bottom waterproof. You should see the condition of my $2.00 pastic groundcloth, but my tent bottom shows virtually no wear. I'd rather go out and spend $2.00 more on a new piece of platic than $200+ on a new tent.

So use a groundcloth, just keep it smaller than the footprint of the tent to keep water from channeling under your tent. I have been out in all types of raging wet storms and have never had a problem with this method.


Quote:


Quote:

As I soon learned on that very fatefull (and wet night). If the footprint for your tent is too big the rain will roll off your tent and right onto the top of your footprint. And from there it will collect under your tent. So after a little while of this your tent will be swimming in its very own, very cold, very wet little pond

Thank you. (;->) For years I have been telling the dwellers of this group that if you put a tent "Plastic" under your tent - you may get wet when you would otherwise have stayed dry. The original tent cloth was made of cloth and the rain soaked through it. Punch 50 holes in your ground plastic so it becomes more porous. Or get smart = put a vapor barrier inside your tent and under your pads to stay dryer. I NEVER use a ground cloth or a ground plastic or a non-prous footprint.
Jim S YMMV (:->)
P.S. a friend spread out a large sheet of plastic and set his tent up on it saying "This will keep me dry" - he was the one who got wettest and made us pack up and leave in the storm. Where did all that water go???? into his sleeping bag of course...

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